Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Marine Snail's Neural Network Sheds Light On The Basis For Flexible Behavior

Date:
October 12, 2005
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
From snail to man, one of the hallmarks of the brain is the ease with which behavioral variants are generated--for example, humans can easily walk with different stride lengths or different speeds. By studying how a relatively simple motor network of the marine snail Aplysia produces variants of a particular feeding behavior, researchers have found that the ability to generate a large number of behavioral variants stems from the elegant hierarchical architecture of the brain's motor network.

By studying how a relatively simple motor network of the marine snail Aplysia produces variants of a particular feeding behavior, researchers have found that the ability to generate a large number of behavioral variants stems from the elegant hierarchical architecture of the brain's motor network.
Credit: Timothy Kang, Jin-sheng Wu and Jian Jing

From snail to man, one of the hallmarks of thebrain is the ease with which behavioral variants are generated--forexample, humans can easily walk with different stride lengths ordifferent speeds. By studying how a relatively simple motor network ofthe marine snail Aplysia produces variants of a particular feedingbehavior, researchers have found that the ability to generate a largenumber of behavioral variants stems from the elegant hierarchicalarchitecture of the brain's motor network.

Related Articles


Most motor systems are organized into a hierarchy of at leasttwo layers of neurons, with higher-order neurons acting on lower-orderneurons, which form a small number of building blocks or modules thatproduce a variety of behaviors. However, it was not clear how variantsof a single motor act are generated in such a hierarchical system.

In the new work, Jian Jing and Klaudiusz Weiss of the MountSinai School of Medicine in New York studied the feeding network ofAplysia, which exhibits a biting behavior in response to the presenceof food. The researchers showed that within the feeding network, twohigher-order neurons that are active during biting behavior employ acombinatorial mechanism to produce variations in one particularmovement parameter of the biting behavior. The researchers showed that,tellingly, these higher-order neurons accomplish their roles throughtheir specific actions on two groups of lower-order interneurons thatdirectly influence the particular biting-behavior movement parameter.Therefore, in this system, and likely others, the generation of largenumbers of behavioral variants is characterized by higher-order neuronsthat flexibly combine an "alphabet system" of outputs that aregenerated by lower-order modules within the brain's motor network.

###

The researchers included Jian Jing and Klaudiusz R. Weiss of MountSinai School of Medicine in New York, NY. This work was supported bygrants from National Institute of Mental Health.

Jing et al.: "Generation of Variants of a Motor Act in aModular and Hierarchical Motor Network." Publishing in Current Biology,Vol. 15, 1712-1721, October 11, 2005. DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2005.08.051 www.current-biology.com


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Marine Snail's Neural Network Sheds Light On The Basis For Flexible Behavior." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 October 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051011072450.htm>.
Cell Press. (2005, October 12). Marine Snail's Neural Network Sheds Light On The Basis For Flexible Behavior. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051011072450.htm
Cell Press. "Marine Snail's Neural Network Sheds Light On The Basis For Flexible Behavior." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051011072450.htm (accessed January 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) More schools are using online classes to keep from losing time to snow days, but it only works if students have Internet access at home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

BuzzFeed (Jan. 24, 2015) Did you back it up? Do you even know how to do that? Video provided by BuzzFeed
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

RightThisMinute (Jan. 23, 2015) Not only is Kathy seeing her newborn son for the first time, but this is actually the first time she has ever seen a baby. Kathy and her sister, Yvonne, have been legally blind since childhood, but thanks to an amazing new technology, eSight glasses, which gives those who are legally blind the ability to see, she got the chance to see the birth of her son. It&apos;s an incredible moment and an even better story. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins